Sleep deprivation in obese people could be due to increased food and alcohol intake

Sleep deprivation at night (Credit: iStock)Researchers have found that high energy food and alcohol intake could result in sleep deprivation in obese people.

This research published online in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.

After studying the chronically sleep deprived obese people in US, decreased sleep and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been found to be linked to high energy food and alcohol intake. It is the first time that a relationship between the sleep and the dietary intake has been studied in obese people.

2004–2006 National Health Institute Interview showed that heavy drinking is related to short sleep duration. In another study, researchers found that sleep deprivation increases the chances of obesity, with a 0.35 kg m−2 change in body mass index (BMI) per hour of sleep change.

Greater carbohydrate intake has been found in women with sleep apnea that is found to be parallel to the study on teenage Saudi girls that showed approximately 16% greater carbohydrate intake in subjects sleeping less than 5 hours vs. those sleeping more than 7 hours and having usual carbohydrate intake.

Alcohol intake, even in small quantities i.e. ¼ serving of alcohol per day that is equivalent to the 1–2 alcoholic beverages per week, disturbs the sleep duration inversely. Daily alcohol intake results in the amount of about 1/5 points of the variability in sleep duration. Moreover, increase of one drink (approximately 14 g of alcohol) would cause a 30-min decrease in sleep duration. Amount of alcohol consumption is not the only factor disturbing the sleep but times of consumption of alcohol relative to sleep and the time of the day also plays important role.

“Our findings have important bearings on long-term weight regulation for the increasing number of the US population, who are obese, chronically sleep deprived, and suffer from sleep apnea.” Researchers noted. “Clinical approaches to this population should be individualized and informed by determination of dietary intake and assessment of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, a major determinant of food intake in these subjects, should be diagnosed and treated.”


Galli, G., Piaggi, P., Mattingly, M., de Jonge, L., Courville, A., Pinchera, A., Santini, F., Csako, G., & Cizza, G. (2013). Inverse relationship of food and alcohol intake to sleep measures in obesity Nutrition and Diabetes, 3 (1) DOI: 10.1038/nutd.2012.33

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